DC cuts proposed traffic fines in half, but they're still steep

A one thousand dollar fine for speeding? DC considered it. But now it's cut in half the proposed fine for going 25 miles an hour over the limit.

CHEVY CHASE, MD (WUSA9) - A $1,000 fine for speeding? DC considered it.
  
But now it's cut in half the proposed fine for going 25 miles an hour over the limit. The District is headed quickly now toward implementing a whole bunch of steep new fines, despite some questions about whether even the stiffest new fines will work.
  
Critics say the best way to slow down drivers and save lives may be to let them know they're guaranteed to get nailed. Like here in Chevy Chase, where almost everyone knows that if you speed, you're going to get a ticket.

The city calls it Vision Zero. It wants to cut traffic deaths to zero by 2024. They've been headed in the opposite direction in the last few years

But the size of the fines has some people pushing back. "Twenty five over, I can see why that's a problem," said pedestrian John Lody. "But $500, that's a little overboard."

In an effort to spread the pain and the blame, DC would also hit cyclists and pedestrians: A $150 fine for cyclists who collide with a pedestrian; $50 for riding with earbuds in; and for pedestrians who walk in front of a car with the right of way, a $100 fine.

"The message that gets sent out is this is about fines," John Townsend of AAA MidAtlantic told a DC Council committee. "It shouldn't be about fines, it should be about keeping the streets safer."

Even some supporters suggested some Scandinavian countries might have the right idea: positive reinforcement. "If you were within the speed limit, periodically, they'd say congratulations, you've won the lottery, and they send you a check for $100" said DC resident Jane Ward.

Here are some other ideas D-DOT's proposing: A 15 mile an hour speed limit around playgrounds, pools, and senior centers; a 20 mile an hour limit in "neighborhood slow zones;" and if you overtake a car that's stopped for a pedestrian at a crosswalk or intersection -- that's a 500 dollar fine.

If you like -- or don't like -- what the city is considering, you have until the end of the day on Monday to let DC know. That's when the public comment period ends.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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